The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War

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The 2nd London General Hospital, Chelsea

The 2nd London General Hospital, Chelsea was located at St Mark's College at 552 King's Road, Chelsea and the adjoining LCC secondary school, it provided 66 Officer beds and 995 Other Ranks beds. It opened in September 1914, staffed by a Commanding Officer, Registrar, Quartermaster and six Lieutenants of the Royal Army Medical Corps. Consultancy was provided by staff from the London Hospitals, including Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals.

St Marks College building had wards on two floors, with female nurses' accommodation on the third floor and the kitchens in the basement. Male medical personnel were housed in a detached building. A section of wall was removed between the college and the school to link the two parts of the hospital.

The school building was converted into wards for surgical cases, the smaller rooms became wards for serious cases or officers with 4 or 5 beds in each. The operating theatre was also installed with in the school.

To allow direct access for patients brought in on ambulance trains, a section of wall was demolished to make an entrance onto the platform at Chelsea station.

Two hundred additional beds of the 2nd London General Hospital were established at St Thomas' Hospital and a further 40 at the Great Northern Hospital in Holloway, use of a private motor car was donated by a local lady to ease the problem of medical staff travelling between the hospitals.

The first patients troops who had been injured during training in England, but by the end of September 1914, men were arriving from from the Western front. The patients mostly arrived in a terrible condition, their clothes stiff with mud and blood from wounds, which were often septic. The wounds were mainly caused by shrapnel to the upper extremities.

By January of 1915 the Hospital had received 22 patients who had been blinded and The War Office decided that hospitals should specialize in their treatment of the wounded and in future all patients with eye injuries would be sent to the 2nd London General Hospital or to the 3rd London General, if no beds were available at the 2nd. Staff from St Dunstan's Hostel for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors, visited daily to help the newly blind to cope with the depression that inevitably accompanied the first moments of a lifetime of blindness.

In May 1915 all Territorial General Hospitals were required to establish Neurological Sections, for the treatment of patients with shell shock or neurasthenia.

The 2nd London General Hospital closed in 1919 and the buildings were put back to their orignial use.

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  • The Wartime Memories Project is the original WW1 and WW2 commemoration website

    This website has been running for 18 years and receives in excess of a million hits per month. The website and our group will continue long after the 2014-18 events are over. We hope that people will continue to support us by submitting material and stories in addition to submitting to the new websites set up for the anniversary.

  • We are looking for volunteers to help with researching the activities of units of the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Territorial Force, Regular Army, Pals Battalions, Kitchener's New Armies, Voluntary Organisations and the Ships of the Royal Navy. We currently have a huge backlog of stories and historical documents which need to be edited or transcribed for display online, if you have a good standard of written English, an interest in the two World Wars and a little time to spare online we would appreciate your help. For more information please see our page on Volunteering.

Wanted: Digital copies of Group photographs, Scrapbooks, Autograph books, photo albums, newspaper clippings, letters, postcards and ephemera relating to the Great War. If you have any unwanted photographs, documents or items from the First or Second World War, please do not destroy them. The Wartime Memories Project will give them a good home and ensure that they are used for educational purposes. Please get in touch for the postal address, do not sent them to our PO Box as packages are not accepted.

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Feb 2018

    Please note we currently have a backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site. If you have already submitted a story to the site and your UID reference number is higher than 239080 your submission is still in the queue, please do not resubmit without contacting us first.

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Did you know? We also have a section on World War Two. and a Timecapsule to preserve stories from other conflicts for future generations.

List of those who served at the 2nd London General Hospital, Chelsea during The Great War

List of those who were treated at the 2nd London General Hospital, Chelsea during The Great War

  • Pte. Charles Clarke 2nd Btn. Kings Royal Rifle Corps Read his Story.
  • Lt. Reginald Theobald MC 11th Btn., C Coy. Suffolk Regiment (d.10th Apr 1918) Read his Story.If you have any names to add to this list, or any recollections or photos of those listed, please get in touch.

WO1 Walter Charles Maidlow Royal Army Medical Corps.

Sergeant Major Walter Charles Maidlow RAMC, was treated for Chronic Bronchitis at the 2nd Eastern General Hospital in Brighton. Exact date is not known but he was serving as a WO1 RAMC in the 2nd London General Chelsea in December 1916 when he contracted the disease. He was discharged from the Army on 31st March 1919. He had served with the RAMC in India between 1914 and 1916, also serving on three Hospital Ships. The Dunvegan, The Varsova and finally the H.S. Neuralia. I am still writing Walter’s story.

Ivor Williams

Pte. Charles Clarke 2nd Btn. Kings Royal Rifle Corps

I have been researching my family history for a number of years including my grandfather’s career, Private Charles Clarke (10424) in the 2nd Battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Corps in the Great War.

He had enlisted in January 1912 and served until wounded then was discharged in February 1917. The family’s understanding of his discharge was that he was wounded and blinded in a gas attack in France sometime before February 1917 and we believe sent home to England recover at the 2nd London General Hospital. I am unsure if his medical records or presence is listed at that time?

There is a family story that one night during a zeppelin or Gotha raid, presumably in London 1917, and an incendiary landed near him while being taken down to a shelter and the blast bought his sight back. It would be good if we knew where he was treated and how long was he in hospital for and any other information you may have on archive if indeed you have any? Is he for example on any casualty list for treatment at St Marks College or St Thomas's which I believe to be the 2nd London General Hospitals?

Mike Mason

Lt. Reginald Theobald MC 11th Btn., C Coy. Suffolk Regiment (d.10th Apr 1918)

Reginald Theobald was my great uncle, the much loved older brother of my maternal grandmother, Kathleen Hilda Poles nee Theobald.

When war broke out he was about to go to Cambridge from Mill Hill School, on a Maths scholarship but never got there. He enlisted as Private 962 in the Royal Fusiliers and served in France and Flanders. He was a great sportsman, representing the school in cricket and hockey and being a good boxer. He also enjoyed joking and having fun with the family. He took a box brownie camera to the war (not allowed!) and I have an album of his photos of the time.

He was awarded his Military Cross in 1917 "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He did valuable work in cutting wire, and also carried out an important reconnaissance. Later, while mopping up, although badly wounded, he got his party together, regained his company, and went on to the final objective." He apparently held his post for 10 hours whilst wounded. He returned to England to be treated at St Marks College Hospital Chelsea in January 1915, for wounds received at Vimy Ridge. He also had Enteric Fever.

He died aged 23 at the Battle of Lys at Erquinghem sur Lys near Armentieres in France on 10th of April 1918, leaving behind a fiancee and recently widowed mother. The delightful museum in Erquinghem sur Lys has information and photos of him and the small CWG cemetery there at La Rolanderie Farm has his grave.

Reginald Theobald grave CWG at La Rolanderie Farm, Erquinghem sur Lys France

Reginald Theobald medals

Marilyn Longden

Can you help us to add to our records?

The names and stories on this website have been submitted by their relatives and friends. If your relations are not listed please add their names so that others can read about them

Did your relative live through the Great War? Do you have any photos, newspaper clippings, postcards or letters from that period? Have you researched the names on your local or war memorial?

If so please let us know.

Do you know the location of a Great War "Roll of Honour?"

We are very keen to track down these often forgotten documents and obtain photographs and transcriptions of the names recorded so that they will be available for all to remember.

Help us to build a database of information on those who served both at home and abroad so that future generations may learn of their sacrifice.

Celebrate your own Family History

Celebrate by honouring members of your family who served in the Great War both in the forces and at home. We love to hear about the soldiers, but also remember the many who served in support roles, nurses, doctors, land army, muntions workers etc.

Please use our Family History resources to find out more about your relatives. Then please send in a short article, with a photo if possible, so that they can be remembered on these pages.


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